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  #1  
Old 02-15-2014, 08:25 PM
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rhumbagirl rhumbagirl is offline
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Default Switching Heads and sticks

Ok, I recently got a gig playing big band jazz and decided to change the heads on my Pearl reference kit to Remo Coated Ambassador from Evans Clear G1/G2s. Just the toms. Left the BD and snare alone.

And in the process of this change, I noticed my usual Jojo Mayer signature sticks are a bit heavy for the big band style - ride cymbal patterns, double stroke rolls on the snare and toms etc.

Question: In changing from the bigger sticks to a Vic Firth 7As, I've noticed a lack of control with the lighter sticks. And then after playing at the rehearsal for a couple of hours, then going back to my Jojos, the Jojos now feel like a ton of bricks. Is this natural? Do I need to stick with one pair in all my playing styles (mostly pop, funk, contemporary jazz, combo jazz, and big band jazz)?

The Jojos just seem too heavy on the Ambassadors. Am I wrong or am I wrong??

Who's right anyway?? :)

Steph
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:33 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: Switching heads/sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhumbagirl View Post
Ok, I recently got a gig playing big band jazz and decided to change the heads on my Pearl reference kit to Remo Coated Ambassador from Evans Clear G1/G2s. Just the toms. Left the BD and snare alone.

And in the process of this change, I noticed my usual Jojo Mayer signature sticks are a bit heavy for the big band style - ride cymbal patterns, double stroke rolls on the snare and toms etc.

Question: In changing from the bigger sticks to a Vic Firth 7As, I've noticed a lack of control with the lighter sticks. And then after playing at the rehearsal for a couple of hours, then going back to my Jojos, the Jojos now feel like a ton of bricks. Is this natural? Do I need to stick with one pair in all my playing styles (mostly pop, funk, contemporary jazz, combo jazz, and big band jazz)?

The Jojos just seem too heavy on the Ambassadors. Am I wrong or am I wrong??

Who's right anyway?? :)

Steph
Yes, it's normal for wee sticks to feel wee when you've been using bigger ones and vice versa.

No, I don't think you need to use one stick for every application. I know I don't.

There's no right or wrong. Some people play heavy heads with light sticks and some people play thinner heads with heavy sticks. It's all down to the personal sound and feel you're going for. For me, head choice (and partly stick choice) is primarily about sound. Stick choice is partly about sound but moreso about feel. There is significant crossover in these things, however.

My experience with Jojo signature sticks is that they're not all that heavy and I would readily use them on single ply heads, though I don't particularly like them because they feel short to me. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:02 AM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: Switching heads/sticks

I have actually experienced a similar thing with my sticks.

I recently switched back to Vic Firth 7As after many, many different sticks. I've discovered I like a shorter stick, shorter than the "standard" 16 inches anyway. So now all my sticks are under 16" in length.

I have one pair of the Jojo sticks that have become my "heavy" sticks. I use the 7A sticks for almost everything; mostly blues and jazz. I just played a blues gig tonight using only 7As. Actually, on jazz gigs, I primarily use the Vic Firth AJ6.

If I want a step up from the 7A stick, I've found that the Steve Gadd signature stick is an nice one. It actually feels a little lighter than the 7A but it's slightly longer and bigger.

It usually doesn't take me very long to readjust to the new stick. However, going from the Jojo stick to the 7A would be a bit much. That's why I use the Gadd stick as a sort of "medium" stick.

So for me, my sticks and their primary purpose are:

Jazz -- AJ6 (7A when I need a little something more.)

Blues -- 7A (Maybe the Gadd stick if I feel like mixing it up.)

Rock/Pop/Church -- 7A or Steve Gadd (Jojo if I really need to hit hard.)
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Switching heads/sticks

I study classical percussion and play kit and percussion in bands. My simple advice is to get used to playing with different sticks (and in my case also mallets, brushes, rods, broomsticks, hammers, hands, etc(you get the point)), they're just another tool in your arsenal :-) There's a stick/mallet suitable for every hand for every job in the world. Just like a chef has sets of different knifes for different tasks in the kitchen.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:31 PM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Switching Heads and sticks

You may want to try a maple stick like an SD7 or SD9... That way you can get a slightly lighter stick without going smaller.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:48 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Switching Heads and sticks

Maple sticks are dangerous objects when the break, because the break is so clean and usually sharp. Hickory has stringy grain so that just doesn't happen. I break maple sticks in less than a week but I can play the same pair of hickory sticks for 6 months. I do like the feel and sound of the maple, but the breakage thing makes it a....wait for it...a deal breaker.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:28 PM
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rhumbagirl rhumbagirl is offline
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Default Re: Switching heads/sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLdrum View Post
I study classical percussion and play kit and percussion in bands. My simple advice is to get used to playing with different sticks (and in my case also mallets, brushes, rods, broomsticks, hammers, hands, etc(you get the point)), they're just another tool in your arsenal :-) There's a stick/mallet suitable for every hand for every job in the world. Just like a chef has sets of different knifes for different tasks in the kitchen.
I suppose having the spare Gretsch kit now has a purpose. I'll use it for jazz practise, then get back to the Pearl 5 piece with clear G1/G2s for pop and fusion.

I'll do that for a week and see what happens. Something tells me it's not a one way street - just because you can handle the bigger sticks doesn't mean you can handle the smaller ones.

Because I'm getting sensitive to stick weight just means I'm getting better :)

Rock on!

Steph
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:10 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Switching Heads and sticks

I find for big band i tend to gravitate to heavier sticks. Either ahead maxim concert or 2a nylon tips. A far cry from my usual 7a wood tips or really thin techra
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Switching Heads and sticks

I play quite a few Big Band gigs here in Toronto and my preferred stick for these gigs is the Regal Tip 8A in maple. I am not a stick breaker, in fact I have probably only broken less than 5 pairs of sticks in over 40 years of playing. I like maple sticks for the reduced stick shock and they sound very nice on cross stick work. The 8A has good rebound, it is easy to get used to and I have used it for amplified Rock gigs and acoustic Jazz trio gigs.the only issue I have with this stick is that I wished it had an acorn shaped bead, as I find the acorn bead can create more sonic possibilities than the barrel shape bead of the 8A.

Vic Firth has brought out the Peter Erskine Big Band stick and it is a great stick. It is hock or with a shaft between a 5A and a 5B with a very long taper to an acorn shaped bead. It plays light and still has enough heft for the louder playing. I have recently started working this stick into my stick rotation and I really like it so far. Just wish it had the Regal Tip lacquer finish .
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:55 PM
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rhumbagirl rhumbagirl is offline
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Default Re: Switching heads/sticks

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Originally Posted by MLdrum View Post
There's a stick/mallet suitable for every hand for every job in the world.
I pulled out the 7As because I watched this pro drummer from the cat birds seat, watched him play with his big band, all the licks and rolls and fills, and he was using light sticks - looked like 7As - with a loose batter head on his snare, the snare tilted away from him. I went home and loosened the snare drum head tension a bit, then the tilt, and with the 7As I found a more even and lively double stroke roll coming from my playing. I'm certain it has something to do with reduced mass of the lighter sticks and the strength of my fulcrum, some give in the head, and a more parallel angle of attack for the trad (left) hand.

Er, I should say a more parallel angle of attack when the trad hand is at a more efficient position (at hand shake rather than palm up). Much better finesse control in the hand shake position.

This thread needs to be moved to the technique area :)

Steph
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  #11  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:10 PM
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rhumbagirl rhumbagirl is offline
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Default Re: Switching Heads and sticks

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Originally Posted by StaggerLee View Post
I find for big band i tend to gravitate to heavier sticks. Either ahead maxim concert or 2a nylon tips. A far cry from my usual 7a wood tips or really thin techra
What kind of tunes are you guys doing? I didn't notice the stick issue until one chart came up with tempo 220 bpm.

FWIW, here's a kick ass band for you...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6EpjwOFe_0

I wonder what he's playing with.

And...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2yuRXbRvoI

Is Phillip Weiss (singer) great or what? I love his ... medieval times face (large nose and chin :))

Steph
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  #12  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:15 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Switching Heads and sticks

For the aheads I was in a benny goodman cover act. Found it gave great sound (though I didn't use trad with them). For the 2a's it was a simply jazz set like:
Summertime
Take 5
Golden Brown
Moonshine
Girl from Ipanema
etc etc

For most others I use techra sticks, and slowly gravitating to just using them for everything. Though my current band I almost exclusively use brushes with trad grip (steve gadd brush on left hand and live wire brush in right hand).
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